New Fiction Friday: Noggin

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While browsing through Barnes and Noble the cover of Noggin caught my eye. And by “browsing”, I mean I saw it on my way to the kids section, my daughter’s hand in one hand, and a caramel latte in the other.  On the cover is what appears to be a Ken doll – it’s something that caught my daughter’s eye too. She cracked up when I told her the name of the book was noggin!! I’m not sure what I expected after picking the book up, but I was pleasantly surprised. Travis Coates, aka “Noggin”, is a special kid. As a teenager, he developed Lukemia, and after rounds of treatment, it became untreatable. In a science fiction twist, doctors were able to save his head, and cryogenically froze it.

IMG_0523So, his head is frozen in the hopes that soon there will be a transplant – a full body transplant, possibly the first of its kind.  This is a leap of faith that he must make – with the permission and blessing of his parents. All of this has happened before the book begins, the book begins after his head has been successfully transplanted onto a donor body, and Travis is awake and alive again. What happens after that is the real challenge – embarking on a new adventure, a whole new life.

“Listen – I was alive once and then I wasn’t. Simple as that. Now I’m alive again. The in-between part is still a little fuzzy, but I can tell you that, at some point or another, my head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado.”

After being cryogenically frozen for 5 years, and a miraculous transplant, Travis is back. He had been 16 when the surgery first took place, now his best friends and classmates are 21, and he’s still 16. Being a teenager is hard, but being a teenager twice is even worse.  That’s one of the hardest parts for him. That, and the fact that his parents are not exactly the same either.

I really enjoyed this story – and Travis’s ability to adapt to his new world.  He’s incredibly resilient and brave, as he reclaims his life.  Part of the ending was somewhat predictable – though none of the rest of the story was.  The premise of the story is incredibly creative and inventive, and now I’ll be looking forward to reading John Corey Whaley’s other books.


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